Fika (Fee-ka) is a Swedish word describing a mid-morning or mid-afternoon break in the day. It’s also a concept, a state of mind, an attitude. For more on fika, read my introduction here. Grab a cuppa and something sweet and delicious. Even better – do it with someone else. Enjoy the story. Let it be the beginning of a conversation – with someone else, or yourself. Head over to my website and leave a comment if you want to. Enjoy.
I have no idea where this story originated. I have seen it attributed to Thich Nhat Hanh, N.K. Sondhi, and the omnipresent “Anonymous.” Wherever it comes from, it has truth in it – which is probably why the story gets around as much as it does.
The story: “The monk and the boat”
A monk decided to meditate alone, so he left the monastery, took a boat, and rowed it into the middle of the adjoining lake. When he reached the middle of the lake, he moored the boat, closed his eyes, and started meditating.
After a few hours of blissful, undisturbed silence, he suddenly felt the bump of another boat colliding into his own. With his eyes still closed, he sensed his anger rising. By the time he opened his eyes, he was ready to scream at the boatman who dared to disturb his meditation.
When he opened his eyes, he saw that it was in fact an empty boat that had floated to the middle of the lake and bumped into his own. At that moment the monk achieved self-realization and understood that the anger was actually within him. It simply needed to hit an external object to provoke it.
From then on, whenever he met someone who irritated him or provoked his anger, he reminded himself, the other person is merely an empty boat. “The anger is within me.”
Have you had experiences that helped you to realize that your anger is within you?
What happened that gave you this insight?
What leads you to forget this truth?
What helps you remember?
What do you do with the anger within?
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